Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces burn fuel like oil and natural gas to generate heat for your home. As a complication of this process, carbon monoxide is created. Carbon monoxide is a potentially hazardous gas that can result in all sorts of health and breathing problems. Fortunately, furnaces are installed with flue pipes that ventilate carbon monoxide safely out of your house. But when a furnace malfunctions or the flue pipes are cracked, CO might leak out into your house.

While high quality furnace repair in Macon can correct carbon monoxide leaks, it's also crucial to recognize the warning signs of CO in your house. You should also put in carbon monoxide detectors inside bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll share more information about carbon monoxide so you can make a plan to keep you and your family safe.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas consisting of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a flammable fuel such as wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is produced. It generally disperses over time since CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have adequate ventilation, carbon monoxide may reach more potent concentrations. What's more, one of the reasons it's viewed as a harmful gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels may increase without anyone noticing. This is the reason why it's vital to put in a carbon monoxide detector in your home. It's perfect for recognizing evidence of CO and notifying you with the alarm system.

What Produces Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is released when any kind of fuel is ignited. This means natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially popular as a result of its prevalence and low price, making it a regular source of household CO emissions. Besides your furnace, most of your home's other appliances that require these fuels will emit carbon monoxide, like:

  • Water heaters
  • Stoves
  • Ovens
  • Fireplaces
  • Wood stoves
  • Hot tubs
  • and more

As we stated earlier, the carbon monoxide the furnace generates is ordinarily released safely outside of your home through the flue pipe. In fact, nearly all homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning since they offer sufficient ventilation. It's only when CO gas is trapped in your home that it passes concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Does Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

Once carbon monoxide gas is in your lungs, it can attach to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This blocks oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting your body's capability to carry oxygen throughout the bloodstream. So even if there's plenty of oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to use it. Lack of oxygen affects every part of the body. If you're subjected to harmful concentrations of CO over a long period of time, you might experience the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

At even more potent levels, the potential health problems of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more serious. In high enough concentrations, it's capable of becoming fatal. Symptoms include things like chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (particularly the less dangerous ones) are easily mistaken for the flu because they're so generalized. But if you have multiple family members suffering from symptoms simultaneously, it could be indicative that there's CO gas in your home. If you believe you are suffering from CO poisoning, leave the house straight away and contact 911. Medical professionals can ensure your symptoms are treated. Then, get in touch with a professional technician to examine your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will identify where the gas is coming from.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide

After a technician has identified carbon monoxide in your house, they'll identify the source and seal the leak. It could be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it can take some time to locate the right spot. Your technician will look for soot or smoke stains and other characteristics of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here's what you can do to reduce CO levels in your home:

  1. Verify that your furnace is adequately vented and that there are no clogs in the flue pipe or someplace else that would trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when using appliances that produce carbon monoxide, like fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to improve ventilation.
  3. Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would be running constantly, squandering energy and adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Do not burn charcoal indoors. Not only will it leave a mess, but it will also emit carbon monoxide.
  5. Try not to use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in compact spaces.
  6. If you use a wood-burning fireplace, verify that the flue is open when in use to enable carbon monoxide to leave the house.
  7. Take care of routine furnace maintenance in Macon. A damaged or defective furnace is a likely source of carbon monoxide leaks.
  8. Most importantly, put in carbon monoxide detectors. These useful alarms detect CO gas much sooner than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?

It's crucial to put in at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, not to mention the basement. Concentrate on bedrooms and other spaces further away from the exits. This offers people who were sleeping plenty of time to exit the home. It's also a smart idea to set up carbon monoxide alarms close to sources of CO gas, like your kitchen stove or a water heater. Lastly, very large homes should look at additional CO detectors for uniform protection for the entire house.

Let's pretend a home has three floors, along with the basement. With the previously mentioned recommendations, you should set up three to four carbon monoxide detectors.

  • One alarm should be set up close to the furnace and/or water heater.
  • The second alarm could be put in close to the kitchen.
  • Both the third and fourth alarms can be installed near or within bedrooms.

Professional Installation Minimizes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Protecting against a carbon monoxide leak is always better than fixing the leak after it’s been located. An easy way to avert a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Macon to certified specialists like Air Temperature Control. They recognize how to install your preferred make and model to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal risk.